2009-10-01 / Other News

Crime Prevention Month Marks Its 25th Anniversary

By Assemblyman Alan Maisel

The keys to safer communities are a combination of crime prevention and effective policing. The Assembly has enacted a number of tough anti-crime measures in the last few years. In this past legislative session, we also focused on crime prevention.

Since 1984 the National Crime Prevention Council has observed October as National Crime Prevention Month. In observance of the occasion, government agencies, civic groups, schools, businesses and community organizations reach out to educate the public on the importance of crime prevention, while promoting awareness of important issues such as victimization, volunteerism, and creation of safer communities.

This year the Assembly passed several measures I supported aimed at preventing crime and also helping crime victims recover. These measures: require social services districts to provide individuals who have experienced sexual abuse or assault information about locally available services to protect them from further harm (Ch. 427 of 2009); help curb the rise in bias-related and hate crimes by establishing a civil remedy for victims who have suffered physical injury, damage to their property or death because of a belief or perception regarding the victim’s race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, age, disability or sexual orientation (A.529); create a victims’ assistance program where Crime Victims Board (CVB) members and staff would be required to take a course to become fully knowledgeable and trained in crime victim assistance (A.1209); permit courts to direct anti-trust fines to be paid to the CVB (A.1046); require separate training and instruction regarding sexual assault for all police officers involved with these types of crimes.

This bill also would require the Office of Court Administration to provide training to judges and justices at the New York State Judicial Institute with respect to sexual assault crimes (A.938); expand eligibility and compensation from the CVB to include domestic partners (A.4089-A); and require criminal or family court judges to inquire about a defendant’s or respondent’s possession of a firearm when orders of protection are sought (A.4320-A).

Crime victims need to rebuild their lives in the devastating aftermath of what they’ve suffered. These measures help crime victims get back on their feet through improved advocacy, counseling programs and financial compensation.

While we are working hard in the Assembly to establish new laws to cut down on crime, you should know that there are also steps you can take to make our community a safer place.

The National Crime Prevention Council suggests that you can increase awareness of crime prevention measures by: asking the local police department to host a community crime prevention event, and invite local news media to cover the story; suggesting that local newspapers print crime prevention tips and feature crime prevention stories throughout the month of October; sponsoring a Crime Prevention Month poster or essay contest; writing an op-ed article to the newspaper highlighting Crime Prevention Month and Halloween safety; and hosting a Halloween safety event.

During the month of October we should recognize the citizens in our community who dedicate their time and efforts to keeping our neighborhoods safe.

For more tips on how you can get involved in crime prevention measures, visit the National Crime Prevention Council’s Web site at www.ncpc.org.

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